Tuesday, November 27, 2012

News at Eleven: Is there a characteristic [Louise] Glück poem?

The popular consensus suggests there is. Legions of younger American poets, for whom Glück is an exemplar, are certain that she is the author of an identifiable product fit to inspire, and that the product is often to be found in the anthologies. Such poems ring with the sharp, punishing desolation of these opening lines from "Epithalamium" (1980):

There were others; their bodies
 were a preparation.
 I have come to see it as that.
 As a stream of cries.
 So much pain in the world--the formless
 grief of the body, whose language
 is hunger--

The work is marked by its austere idiom and air of bald declaration, while also intimating something more that might be said but is unaccountably withheld.

from The Nation: Writing Without a Mattress: On Louise Glück


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